PGA TOUR announce big changes to pace-of-play policy

Phil Mickelson's desert PGA Tour journey evolves from player to champion to host

You all have hollered, and the PGA Tour has listened.

Under the new policy, the PGA Tour will use ShotLink data to identify habitually slow players, and those players will be put on what the tour is calling the "observation list," which will be kept private.

Anyone in the field who takes more than 120 seconds to play a single shot, absent a good reason for doing so, will be given an Excessive Shot Time. This will be done two ways.

Players will certainly be offered a one-shot fine if they obtain a 2nd hard time in an event. A violation would result in an "Excessive Shot Time" penalty. Not only can you get penalized in the two new ways above, but all of the old ways still apply, too.

The Observation List - Historically, the slow-play policy has focused on groups being out of position. If observed by a Rules Official to exceed this time, that player will be timed individually even if the group is in position. Players on the list who take more than 60 seconds to play a shot will be given an official warning; the second offense will result in a one-stroke penalty. If the same player has a third excessive time, they will be given another penalty stroke, and so on. But still, give it up to the PGA Tour for moving forward, for raising the stakes (literally) here and for the implementation of its two new rules.

"We've significantly upped the ante on stroke penalties".

Players will face a one-shot penalty for the second time breach in a tournament - rather than a round - while the maximum fine for cumulative bad times over a season has been raised to $50 000 from the current level of $5 000.

In 20 PGA Tour events last season, Mickelson made the cut 12 times and had two top-10 finishes, including a three-shot victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. The goal, PGA TOUR Chief of Operations Tyler Dennis said, is for the TOUR to help them change their habits. Currently it's by the round; now it's going to be over the entire tournament.

Paul Casey, a member of the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council which has approved the new regulations, insists it is time for the professionals to take more responsibility in getting around the course in a more acceptable time, although he warned that the changes would not be significant. Fans, other players and media will only apply more scrutiny to every scenario moving forward as the PGA Tour starts to prepare to handle it.

This is a story that won't go anywhere, especially as golf becomes easier and easier to view.



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